9 Life-Changing Questions I Ask Myself At the Beginning of a New Year

2023, we’re ready for you.

By Camille Styles
cozy corner at home, create a vision for the life you want to live

I am feeling 2024, you guys. I have this hunch that it’s going to be a year full of growth and adventure, and if you clicked into this post, I have a feeling you’re also ready to embrace the year ahead with open arms and an open mind. I’m a big believer in setting goals in order to intentionally head in the direction of our dreams, and for me, the start of a new year is the most powerful time to do it. Last year, I shared the Vision Workbook that I created and use myself to live more purposefully all year long, and today—I’m so excited to share this year’s Vision Workbook 2.0!

Over the course of 2023, I made several tweaks to how I use the workbook myself, so I wanted to create a version that helps us go deeper and is even more impactful for defining your “why” and creating the life of your dreams. So, grab your Vision and Goal Setting Workbook right here, and let’s dive in!

journaling, create a vision statement for your life_monthly routine

Here’s Why I Write Down My Vision for the Year

There’s a lot of content about manifestation and vision boarding, and white it’s heavy on the visualizing, sometimes it stops short of actually helping me map out a strategic plan to brings it to life. I’m an enneagram 3, y’all. I like a roadmap. I want to know the “how.” And that’s why this workbook is an incredibly powerful tool in my life.

Here’s the deal: Visualization, plus a tactical plan for doing the work, is the secret to making real traction towards creating our dream lives.

Throughout January, I’m going to be sharing a series of posts on how I walk through my vision workbook. It starts with creating the vision (what this post is all about), then defining my top priorities for each area of life: relationships, career, health, and personal growth. As a final step, I articulate one powerful thing I can do in each of those spheres to make the most traction towards my long-term goal. It helps me visualize how I want the year to look in an organized way that I can revisit and remind myself of daily.

Today, with the fresh start of a new year, we’re going to focus on creating that high-level vision. It’s what will fuel your passion and make you want to jump out of bed every morning and get after it. We’re going to give ourselves permission to dream big, get creative, and approach our lives with an abundance mindset. This step should be really fun, and it’s key to the process. And remember:

“You only need to know the direction, not the destination. The direction is enough to make the next choice.” – James Clear

reading, hat, book

How to Create a Vision for the Life You Want to Live:

It’s pretty typical for companies to create mission statements or vision statements to inspire and give direction to their teams. It’s how a business articulates their goals for the future, and defines how they’re going to get there. But I think it’s equally important to take the same intentional approach in who we’re becoming day-by-day, year-by-year, and this requires crafting a purposeful vision for your life.

Here are the 9 steps I use to create my own vision. I walk you through each of these in the Vision Workbook so you can define your own.

1. Write Your 2024 Mantra

If the entire workbook is the long version of your 2024 vision, consider your mantra to be the short version—typically just a sentence or a few words. You want to be able display it where you’ll see it daily, and quickly repeat it when you need to recenter. Though I lead with this step in the workbook, you may not know your mantra right away, and that’s okay. Complete the rest of the steps first, then come back to this one once you’ve been able to look for patterns and themes.

This year, my own mantra is:

Less distraction, more engagement.

Here are other examples of mantras I’ve written through the years to help get the creativity flowing:

  • Slow down, stop rushing.
  • Raise your energy.
  • Enjoy today.
  • Be here now.
  • Simplify.
  • Have more fun.
lighting candle, bath, spa, zen, create a vision for the life you want to live

2. What Does Your Dream Life Look Like?

Visualize what your dream life looks, sounds, smells, and feels like, then journal about it. Don’t limit yourself to what seems realistic in the moment—allow your imagination to run free. To help break free of the mindset that “dream life” equals status or material possessions, I like to focus more on what an actual day in my dream life looks like, by answering these questions:

  • Where are you?
  • Who are you with?
  • How do you feel?
  • What does “success” look like for you?

I always find that this exercise unlocks some new realization for me. It helps me get clear on what I actually want, instead of what I think I should want.

3. How Do You Want to Feel This Year?

Next, create a list of emotions that you want to feel more of in 2024. Part of the Daily Practice in the workbook is reviewing this list each morning to ask, “How can I feel more of these today?” It’s amazing how setting an intention for the way you want to feel changes the way we carry ourselves through the day. Try to limit your list to no more than 5, so you can actually focus in on these and incorporate them throughout your day.

Here is my list for this year:

  • Present
  • Curious
  • Energized
coffee relax in bed, simple rituals

4. When Are You the Happiest?

It’s a simple question that may unlock some major aha’s for you. How often do we go on autopilot and forget to ask ourselves if we’re incorporating the things that make us happy into our day-to-day lives? A little soul searching may uncover that you’re happiest when you’re cooking, walking with a friend, trying a new sport, traveling, or lost in a good book. Whatever it is, the goal is to intentionally make more time for that in your life this year.

5. Where Do You Want to Go This Year?

So often, our travel plans get pushed to the bottom of our priority list, and then we’re making decisions in the eleventh hour based on flight costs or our busy schedule. What if we took a more proactive approach to our travel destinations by dreaming at the beginning of a new year about where we most want to visit? Then, we can take an honest look at our calendar and our budgets and get creative about how to make it happen. I usually target one “big trip” a year and a couple smaller trips to places in the US. You may not get to them all in 2024, but I’m confident that if you take this approach, that “dream spot” will be in your future. Here are mine this year:

  • Costa Rica (it’s already scheduled))
  • Los Olivos, CA (need to plan this)
  • Japan (stretch goal)

6. Who Are the People in Your Life You Want to Prioritize?

For several years, I’ve kept a note in my Evernote called “My List.” It’s ten or so names of people in my life (outside my family) who are top priority. These are the people I want to invest in, spend time with, and cultivate our relationship in a meaningful way this year. We all know how busy life gets, and keeping this list in a place where I can easily access helps me remember to check in and stay connected through the year.

In this step, you simply make a list of the friends, co-workers, extended family, etc who you want to prioritize this year–keep it short enough so that you can really invest in each of them.

coffee, tea, casa zuma ritual mug, book, reading

7. What Books Do You Want to Read This Year?

I like to set an intention at the beginning of the year for a few books that I want to read start-to-finish. Four means one book a season–feel free to get ambitious and up your number to one a month.  

Here’s my list for 2024. The first two are tied to two of my goals (continuing to develop my voice as a writer, and being a better listener with my kids) and the last two are beautiful narratives that I want to dive into.

  1. Everybody Writes, by Ann Handley
  2. Good Inside, by Dr. Becky Kennedy
  3. A Thousand Splendid Suns, by Khaled Hosseini
  4. A Heart That Works, by Rob Delaney

8. What’s One Thing You Want to Learn This Year?

Learning something new every year is majorly inspiring—and it’s cool to think that even as an adult, if you learn one new thing every year, in 20 years you will have cultivated 20 new skills, hobbies, languages, etc. That said, some of us can be a bit too, ahem, ambitious about what we’re actually going to learn in a year.

For the purpose of this exercise, I like to focus on just ONE thing I’m going to learn in the year ahead. Don’t laugh, but this year my goal is that I want to learn how to do face yoga. Seriously (google it.)

casa zuma vision board work_monthly reset

9. Create a Vision Board

For the uninitiated, a vision board is the visual representation of your goals. It’s typically made up of words and images, and is meant to provide inspiration and remind you where you’re headed. No matter what your goals are—to slow down, to start a company, to be a better parent, to travel more, to be more creative, to workout every day—a vision board is a tool that can be incredibly powerful on the journey.

So, how do you actually make a vision board? Well, I like to start by completing all the other parts of the Vision Workbook first, so you actually start the process with a solid understanding of what your own vision actually is. Then, you can search for imagery and words that spark those feeling and represent those goals for you. There’s really no wrong way to do it.

I love to make digital vision boards in Canva—they have templates with all kinds of beautiful layouts that make it easy for beginners. Just import your inspiration photos and arrange them into a collage on the digital canvas.

However, for the beginning of the year, there’s really nothing like using my hands to make a large-scale vision board that lives in my office the rest of the year. I get out my stack of magazines and scissors, print pages from my Pinterest boards, and go through my folders of postcards and stickers that I’ve saved through the year. I’ll also use pen and paper to write out quotes or inspiring words that I want to see every day.


You did it! How does it feel? Look back through your Vision Workbook and celebrate—you’ve taken your first major step in designing your dream life this year, and you should be so proud of what you’ve created. If you haven’t yet grabbed your own copy of the workbook, access it right here. Next week I’ll be sharing how I tackle the next step—how to set and achieve goals, then creating a strategic plan to reach them.